Neil deGrasse Tyson is a distinguished American astrophysicist and author who has been able to achieve so much after falling in love with astronomy at the age of 9. He has since attended and become an alumnus of prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia, and also recorded numerous achievements in his field of endeavor to become one of the leading astrophysicists in the world.
Tyson is best known for being one of the earliest voices to preach the theory that Pluto is not actually a planet. This stance, which brought him heat from the public, was later sanctioned by the International Astronomical Planetary Union which demoted Pluto to a dwarf planet in 2006. Read on to find out more about the science communicator, who regularly utilizes the media to bring science closer to the ordinary man.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born on the 5th of October 1958 in New York City. He grew up in the Bronx and attended public schools such as P.S. 36, P.S. 81, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy and The Bronx High School of Science.
As a student, Tyson was both academically and athletically gifted. He was a part of his school’s wrestling team and also served as the editor of the school’s physics journal. By the age of nine, after visiting the famed Hayden Planetarium in New York, he became interested in astronomy. He was so entranced with the imprint of the night sky there that he knew he had found his calling. He began studying the field of astronomy in earnest and by the age of 15, had already made a name for himself in the astronomy community.
Neil deGrasse Tyson then attended Harvard where he obtained a B.Sc. in Physics in 1980. After that, he proceeded to other institutions where he earned further degrees. They include The University of Texas, Austin where he earned an MA in Astronomy in 1983, Columbia University where he earned an MPhil in Astrophysics in 1989, as well as a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1991.
While working on his degrees, Tyson began his career by accepting a lecturing job at the University of Maryland before going ahead to join the Hayden Planetarium in 1994. He spent just two years there before being made director in 1996. Other jobs he has held since that time include several appointments to serve on various government committees relating to the space industry. His work has won him awards too numerous to mention. They include the 2014 NASA distinguished public service medal.
The astrophysicist has also received honorary doctorates from over 20 institutions and has also gone on to publish no less than 15 books in the course of his career. Some of his most notable work includes The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Family – Wife
The celebrated astrophysicist is married to Alice Young, who like her husband is also an accomplished scholar and a Ph.D. holder. The two met while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. They got married in 1988 and have two children together; a daughter named Miranda and a son named Travis.
Tyson hails from a family of highflyers. His father’s name is Cyril while his mother’s name is Sunchita Maria. His mother worked as a gerontologist while his father was a sociologist. He also has a brother named Stephen and a sister named Lynn.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has accumulated a fortune worth over $5 million. In 2018 alone, he is said to have earned $3 million according to Forbes. His major sources of income include his TV shows, his books (which have sold no less than a million copies), as well as paid speaking engagements. The renowned science communicator joins the likes of Stephen Hawking as one of the scientists who use the media to simplify science for the layman.
Tyson has featured in many TV series such as Nova ScienceNow, Nova, StarTalk etc. StarTalk involves Tyson discussing scientific topics with celebrity guests such as Bill Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Lance Armstrong, and Katy Perry. He has also appeared on all the popular late night shows in America and in 2017, he received the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication.
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s religious views are one that has spurred many public conversations. For instance, he has stated that when people talk of a higher power, they talk of a higher power that is kind. But in his view, there is nothing kind about a planet which wants to kill its occupants. Also in 2014, he stated that he is unconvinced about the existence of a divine force in the universe. Despite these views, Tyson has rejected any attempt to label him as an atheist. He has since stated that if he must be labeled, he prefers to be termed an agnostic.